In this article, we’ll discuss three key ways that stress helps sales people when kept under control as part of a healthy work environment.
If you’ve been involved in sales for long, then you know the havoc that stress can wreak on an agent. Many of the common problems you see in a sales team can be tied directly to the stress levels of the members of that team–sales is rather infamous as a mentally exhausting profession, for good reason. But there are two sides to every story, and as with so many other things stress in moderation can have unexpected benefits. That’s right–controlled properly, stress helps sales people. In this article, we’ll discuss three key ways that stress helps sales people when kept under control as part of a healthy work environment.
A bit of stress helps sales people maintain their focus. Without some level of stress, there’s a tendency to waste time, become easily distracted, and underperform in general. The importance of a healthy level of stress can’t be underestimated when it comes to focus–if there’s no worry, no concern about the outcome of a given sale or group of sales, motivation lags, edges dull, and sales people fail to achieve their potential. Studies show that when we feel anxious, we release adrenaline. The improved alertness, awareness, memory, and cognitive function caused by that release can greatly improve a sales person’s productivity.
A bit of stress helps sales people by letting them feel challenged. If your sales team isn’t a bit challenged, you’re going to see a big drop off in the bottom line and in your team morale. Stress helps sales people stay invested in their work and avoid the listlessness that follows when one finds they never have to ‘try’. If your team isn’t feeling any stress at all, expectations have been under calibrated; more work could be done and better outcomes achieved. Unchallenged employees are also more likely to move on to bigger and better things–few sales reps want to waste their talents at companies that don’t give them work to match their potential.
Studies show that psychological stress is a lot like physical stress, i.e. exercise. In proper amounts, that stress helps sales people (and everyone else) become stronger physically and mentally. In excess, it breaks us down too far and we lose any benefits.
But a little bit of stress in a contained period can cause improve antioxidant mechanisms, free-radical defenses, and general immunity. Just take it easy–the cortisol that improves immune system function, for example, can suppress it if released in excess; that’s why chronically stressed people end up chronically sick people.
Only a certain form of stress helps sales people. The short-term stress you experience in the lead up to and duration of a phone call with a high value prospect is healthy and benefits you. A day of stress as you race a deadline may be good in some areas and bad in others–that sort of stress helps sales people, if it’s not happening too often. The stress caused by a caustic work environment, by bosses that set unreasonable expectations, publicly humiliate employees, and threaten to fire anyone that messes up doesn’t help.
In short: event-specific stress helps sales people; ongoing take-it-home-and-dread-the-next-workday stress hurts sales people. Constant stress causes high employee turnover, reduced morale, and chronic sickness, so keep things nice and moderate.
Claire has 4+ years of experience in sales and recruitment. As a Director of Client Services, her main objective is to connect great people to great companies by building strong relationships with both top clients and candidates in the sales industry. She specializes in sales roles of all seniority levels for both enterprise and start-up clients North American wide. When Claire isn't networking with top talent, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with friends & family.